Origin action at Bellingen



RUGBY league matches may be few and far between on Bellingen Park this season but there's one coming up on July 5 guaranteed to rock the famous old 'graveyard'.

The first of a three 'Test' series between New South Wales CHS and Queensland Secondary Schools under-18's is scheduled that afternoon and organiser Greg Darby of Bellingen/Dorrigo junior rugby league has already seen most participants in action.

"I went to the State of Origin match at Suncorp to meet the officials and a lot of these young blokes took part in the curtain raiser," he said.

"The standard of football they play has to be seen to be believed and no wonder the talent scouts for the NRL are crawling all over them for signatures."

"The town is fortunate to have something this good coming into our backyard."

Once the remaining matches in the series have been played selectors will chose the Australian Schoolboys team, seen as the most coveted junior achievement in the sport and gateway to the big league.

"Every year these squads unearth extrtaordinary talent," Darby said.

"From the 2003-04 team we've produced two Test players in Benji Marshall and Karmichael Hunt while from our own backyard, Bowraville product Greg Inglis has gone from the Macksville Sea Eagles to the Melbourne Storm.

"Now he's a fully-fledged Origin player in next to no time at all."

A glance of those squads from two years back shows more talent now breaking into the NRL.

Michael Lett, Blake Green, Kade Snowden, Rhys Lovegrove, Nathan Armit, Todd Carney, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Micky Paea (NSW) and Steve Michaels, Daniel Backo, Sam Perrett and Marty Mitchell (QLD) have all played first grade.

Two preliminary junior matches will be played from midday with the main fixture timed to commence on Bellingen Park at 2.30pm.



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